Solomon said, "What is wrong cannot be made right. What is missing cannot be recovered" (Ecclesiastes 1:15 NLT). Another translation puts it this way: "What is twisted cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted" (NIV). How true are his words How difficult to hear and accept the wise man's words. How we wish the words were not true. "I take it all back. If I could ... I would." "I never meant to hurt you." "I wish I would have listened to you." "I had no idea how much damage my words could have on people." "If only ...."
Can you hear the pain and regret in those words? For most of us, we don't need to hear the words to be reminded of the emotions; we know it first hand. We've said those words. We've cried those tears of regret. We've spent those sleepless nights of hopelessness. We know it all too well.
We wish we could take away the words, the actions, the comments, the hurt, the sadness, and the guilt that comes after the fact ... when it's too late. We all know the feeling of wishing we had heeded James' words, "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19 NIV). Way too often, we reverse the order of those things. Then, when it is too late, we must live with the consequences.
That's when we need to be reminded of the God who loves us and shows kindness toward us. "God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet. He showed Moses how he went about his work, opened up his plans to all Israel. God is sheer mercy and grace; not easily angered, he's rich in love. He doesn't endlessly nag and scold, nor hold grudges forever. He doesn't treat us as our sins deserve, nor pay us back in full for our wrongs. As high as heaven is over the earth, so strong is his love to those who fear him. And as far as sunrise is from sunset, he has separated us from our sins. As parents feel for their children, God feels for those who fear him." (Psalm 103:6-13 The Message)
This week, let's try to live so that at the end of the week we don't have to say, "I wish I could take that back."